I saw something on a facebook post recently than someone
made to Gene Taylor. It went along the lines of “it’s all about the hang”. And
with regards to the Funtastic Dracula Carnival that is entirely the case. Of
course there’s a lot of music too but as a social event goes that I have ever
attended, this is the greatest gathering of any given calendar year. If only we
could have taken the Wurli crew en mass then I could quite happily have keeled
over in the KU disco. I realise that could be problematic for everyone else but
I’m deadly serious.
Funtastic X marked 10 years of throwing the biggest party on
earth. There was something very poignant about The Sonics headlining too. Being
that their music is a total cornerstone of this rock’n’roll malarkey. The fact
that they existed to appear was something the cosmos was surely working toward
this past decade. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. I’ll hopefully soon be
able to post a link to every set so you can make up your own mind as to who was
good or not. I’ll deal with my favourites and try to explain a little about the Funtastic phenomenon.
It was earlier than usual during what were school holidays
across Europe. This meant that we had to co-exist with beered-up Britons . Many
of these individuals are less than attractive and appear to require at least 5
pints to even get on the plane. And that’s just the women... ha ha. Wee joke
My billet for the first night in town was right down on the
beach, next to the old town. Some of the sights I saw soaking up the sun were
verging on the nasty but let’s live and let live I suppose. This would later be
put into further perspective on the flipside of the opening festivities.
After some aimless wandering and an attempt at a siesta, it
was time to saunter up to the UFO. The revellers were beginning to gather and I
met a few familiar faces. This is what I mean about the social aspect. Although
in many ways this is a wild, wild weekend – there’s an affinity with the attendees
that is truly rare these days. Now I could live up to my curmudgeon status here
and suggest that people wearing Pixies or Str*nglers t-shirts not be allowed
in. Maybe like a high class restaurant, the punk rock maitre de could offer
something more suitable... ha ha. More than one person extolled the virtue of
it being important not to bring a shirt that anyone else may be wearing. In
that case, it seems the same as any outfit for an auspicious occasion.
Once inside, it’s time to change Euros to Draculin, the FDC
bar currency allows you to score a tipple of choice. In no time, the venue was
packed and the action kicked off with The Lie Detectors.
The fundamental beauty of Funtastic is that you can dip in
and out of the acts. As I’m keen to point out, bumping into old friends and
meeting new like-minded crazies is really what this is all about. For three
days we get aboard the ship for the closest thing to a weekend on mars that I’m
likely to experience in my lifetime. And if a band comes along that you never
expected to blow you away then that’s a bonus. Last year it was Autoramas, this
time out it was Gino and the Goons from Fla. They just battered through a
selection that brought to mind a perfect melding of The Oblivians and The
Heartbreakers via a Ramonic rush. I bought all their records, that’s how much I
Bloodshot Bill and The Masonics with Ms Ludella Black were
next. The Medwaytastic latter closing with a rousing version of "New Rose" that
approximated the closest there is likely ever be to a Milkshakes reunion.
crowd was suitably energised. Interspersed with the bands and in several
locations, there are Funtastic DJs. Lutz Soundflat and Iñigo Munster both hit the
throngs with hit after hit. That’s hit as in floor filler. The dancing never
stops. After Inigo was done, I toddled off back to my billet. It was a blessing
and a curse to not be staying directly across the street this year. My liver is
likely breathing a sigh of relief though. There was hardly anyone on the
street. The throngs of loud, pished Brits (and other nationalities) had
disappeared. The schlep along the deserted boardwalk was magical and I stopped
for a minute to watch the waves roll in before disturbing the hotel porter guy
to let me in.
The really big adventure would start the next day when the
kids from Madrid and Barcelona arrived.
A couple, maybe three hours later I was back out on the
pavie. Once again the hordes had descended upon the beach and just as well one
wasn’t about to eat for a bit. Letting it all hang out is one thing but
c’mon... nobody should have to see so many varieties of beached whale.
We met at a restaurant called La Familia that we’d tried to get into last year but it was closed. My
predilection with not eating seafood is problematic and a nuisance I’m sure but
the paella that Francisco had them concoct has made me want to adapt the recipe
at home. Note to self also... get some Pacharan.
From there we went to our digs along the coast in Finestrat.
This place looked fancy in the photos but I’ll be darned if it didn’t look even better in real life. I don’t recall having have stayed in such a swanky spot
ever before. A bar right next to the apartment too that served gin
tonics like those in WEIRDO! BAR. In these big goldfish bowl style glasses and
those set the scene just nicely.
We just missed The Monsieurs and much time was spent just
bumping into folks that you just don’t see often enough. Nikki Corvette and the
Romeos included Sir Morten of Henriksen or Morton Yum Yum as he signed in “The
Billy Book” and they just flew out of the traps. A nugget of pure pop amidst a
sea of gritty punk rock. The Pagans had to follow them and it didn’t really
work for me. Reminded me of the last time I saw The Saints. A bit lumpy. But
the party was raging out on the terrace with some fine DJ action. At one point
I heard “Johnny and Dee Dee” blasting forth, then The Records “Starry Eyes”.
Bliss. No “Glad to See You Go” though.
Listening to records in this environment is like having a
few hundred friends over for a record party and Russ Wilkins even spun discs
that he had custom-cut himself specifically for this auspicious occasion.
Sunday saw a return visit to Villajoyosa and a bustling
restaurant (Hogar del Pescador)for lunch then back for another attempt at a
siesta that never manifested itself. We never caught Los Ass Draggers sadly but
Muck and the Mires were pretty good in a jangly kinda way. It made me
think how amazing them Young Fresh Fellows would be in this setting. Lo-Lite
didn’t hold my attention and I don’t get Les Grys-Grys at all. Estella
reprimanded me for this but I call it as I see and hear it. They’re the Paisley
dress-up Jim Jones Revue for my money. I dig the fact that that kids seem to
like them and that they do good business for mi amigos that pilot Dirty Water
Records but I never need to see or hear them ever again. This old git is not for turning.
Yummy Punk Rock Girls - Maite, Maria and Ruth plus an old git.
Flat Duo Jets on the other hand just effortlessly emoted
cool. It was just Dex and “Crash” but this was one two-man combo that really hit
the spot. Rousing instro-mental stylings and skewered Americana was served up
and I really thought that they might have played a bit longer. My hit pick for
It was then time for The Sonics, as mentioned before, this
is the very bedrock of the Funtastic aesthetic and nobody can deny the anthem
status of their catalogue. As you can
imagine, the place went totally bananas.
The Sonics at full tilt!
A relatively early
flight meant that there was no wee hours action for me. A cab would be coming
to collect me all too soon that would take me to the bus stop. When I got there
I planked myself on the bench and watched some of my fellow Funtastic attendees
file down the Avenida de Europa into the 24 hour cafes. I was jealous.
As the bus rolled out toward Alicante, I passed yet more revellers and wished I
could have joined them. Hanging on to every last second.
I have no idea what or how Paloma and Sr Varo get this thing
together but may they never EVER lose the will to serve up this annual helping of the beat that just can't be beat. They’ve cut and shut quite the hot rod monster and they’re just gonna
keep on souping it on up. As curates, they deserve some kind of rock’n’roll canonisation. They do incredible work, year after year. A tireless and passionate example to us all.
The honour and privilege of being able to attend and be a tiny part of the celebration is something that I am never about to take for granted. And, as I sit here in the bunker kitchen, contemplating that I
need to go out and tidy the drive, the dates for next year are anxiously
awaited. Stand by for set links, coming your way just as soon as they appear.
All Funtastic Photos by Ms Ruth López-Diéguez except the paella and
yonder sunset by Francisco (Fran the Man) Santelices